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February 7, 2018     Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
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February 7, 2018
 

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pirit BI0 Wednesday, February 7, 2018 "Storer College Students in World War I" - a Black History Month event sponsored by Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and the Jefferson Coun~NAACP - happens Sunday. At Harpers Ferry, N.J. historian will shed light on 'Ebony Doughboys' By CHRISTINE SNYDER editor@spiritofjefferson.com HARPERS FERRY - When Al- gernon Ward began as a historical re-enactor in 1999, he portrayed a Civil War soldier who fought to )reserve the United States Living in his hometown of Trenton, N.J where Gen. George Washington famously crossed the Delaware River to lead the surprise attack on the Hessian mercenaries stationed there on Christmas Day 1776, he and his colleagues expanded their work to include African-American soldiers who fought in the Revolu- tionary War - the First Rhode Is- land Regimen. "Over time, we found that one could not confine the 300-year span of African-American military histo- ry to any particular period," the 64- year-old retired research scientist with the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services in Tren- ton explained in an interview. Ward and others soon founded addition- al re-enacting units to bring to light African-Americans' contributions in the major conflicts of the 20th century. On Sunday, Ward delivers a lec- ture on the World War I service of students at Storer College, the famed Harpers Ferry school for the formerly enslaved that oper- ated from 1867 through 1955. The African-Americans who fought for the United States in the Great War in 1917 and 1918 are nicknamed the "Ebony Doughboys." Ward's talk, free and open to the public, happens at Mather Train- ing Center at 51 Mather Place on the former Storer campus, now part of the Harpers Ferry Nation- al Historical Park. It was original- ly scheduled for Feb. 4, but post- poned until this weekend because of icy weather. His 2 p.m. presentation kicks off mer's deadlY violence in Chariot- the Black History Month celebra- tesville over elected leaders' plans tion jointly put on by the park and to take down statues of Confeder- the Jefferson County branch of the ates Robert E. Lee and Stonewall NAACP. Jackson, Ward and other Ebony With this November marking aDoughboys along with several lo- century.since World War I's end - cal military historians were invit- and with white supremacy move- ed to take part in a day-long Veter- ments rallying in Charlottesville, ans Day program at a museum in Va and elsewhere, Ward said it's Charlottesville. an important time for all Ameri- "I was heartened to observe how cans - black and white alike - to the hundreds of black and white finally get an accurate picture of students who attended were fasci- the ways African-Americans have nated by the exhibits and informa- been part of the U.S. military since tion we shared," Ward said. "My Colonial days impression was that this was in- Ward said that after the sum- deed the way forward - educate LEFT: New Jersey native Algernon Ward, a historical re-enactor since 1999, will talk about Storer stu- dents' contributions in The Great War this weekend. The message is important, he said. "Educate the next generation to the whole breath of the American story, being sure to include the previously overlooked contributions of African Americans to that history, and everyone will gain deeper appreciation for what it has taken to make and preserve this country. The idea that we all have a shared destiny will be embedded in their DNA." the next generation to the whole breath of the American story, be- ing sure to include the previously overlooked contributions of Afri- can-Americans to that history, and everyone will gain deeper appreci- ation for what it has taken to make and preserve this country. The idea that we all have a shared destiny will be embedded in their DNA." Besides Ward's work with the Ebony Doughboys, he also con- tinues to volunteer as a re-enactor with the U.S. Colored Troops from the Civil War, the First Rhode Is- land Regiment from the Revolu- tionary War and the Fifth Platoon from World War II. For the last six years, the groups have collaborated during Black History Month to host an event, "Three Centuries of African- American Soldiers" at The Old Barracks Museum in Trenton. The event also showcases history ex- hibits, authors, World War II vet- erans and others, he said. Ward said that in recent years he's seeing growing interest in American involvement in The Great War. Last year marked the centennial of the start of U.S. in- volvement in the war, which had begun in 1914. The Library of Congress website recently added dozens of newly WANT TO GO? What: Algernon Ward's "Storer College Students in World War I," a Black History Month talk put on by the Harpers Ferry National , Historical Park and the Jefferson County branch of the NAACP When: 2 p.m. Sunday (because of bad weather, rescheduled from Feb. 4) Where: Mather Training Center at 51 Mather Place on the former Storer campus in Harpers Ferry To know more: Call the park's Visitor Center at 304-535-6298 :l acquired images of African-Amer- ican soldiers from World War I. Many of the African-American soldiers posed for formal portraits of themselves in uniform with the American flag displayed promi= nently - despite the reality that at ', the time racism was rampant in the South and elsewhere in the United States. "These are obviously people " who are proud of serving their country," Ryan Reft, an histori- an in the library's manuscript di- vision, told The Washington Post. The men are "demonstrating their (See SOLDIERS Page B11) Release of Infommtion Walk-In Service and Patient Rnancial Services has Moved! Effective January 31,2018, the Medical Records/Health Information Management (HIM) Release of Information Walk-In Service and Patient Financial Services (PFS) has moved around the corner from Jefferson Medical Center to 115 E. Third Ave, Ranson, Mailing address, phone and fax numbers will remain the same: 300 S. Preston Street, Ranson, INV.